Krewe of Southdowns gathers ‘Under the Big Top’ _lowres

Photo by PAUL MAJOR -- Queen Ky Burke and King Robert Montanaro

Scents of sawdust, grease paint and cotton candy were in the air at the Lyceum Ballroom Saturday, Jan. 16, as the Krewe of Southdowns gathered “Under the Big Top” for their 29th annual ball.

Boomerang King Robert Montanaro and Illuminated Dancing Queen Ky Burke ascended the Golden Palmetto Throne to rule as the 2016 Southdowns Royalty.

This year’s ball captains, the Quatro Queens Elizabeth Delaney, Teresa Donich, Kate Kane LaBorde and Sherry Wilkes, welcomed a rowdy crowd to a star-spangled evening of three-ring entertainment.

From the center ring, Ringmaster Mike Raborn announced the Royal Tableau.

Preceded by the Flambeaux Roustabouts led by Flambeaux Captains John Hogan, Gus Wilkes and Frank Vine, parade Captain Greg DuCote escorted the gilded wagon bearing special dignitaries, parade founders Dr. William and Mary Gladney, last year’s King Paul Major and Queen Mary Jo Kelly, and visiting royalty King of Spanish Town Chris Frink and his royal consort Emily Taylor.

Queen Ky was accompanied by her daughter, Songstress Sarah Elizabeth Burke, and her sister, the Sassy, Scrumptious Sarah Pebworth.

King Rob, who comes to Southdowns from Down Under, was attended by the daring aerialists Julie Jo Fehrle and Lynne Martin Tucker.

Magus Skip Gladney and Barrister Joe Simmons entered with jugglers and acrobats. The Dancing Girls, cued by lead choreographer Ashley Herring, dazzled in their sequined finery.

Lord of the Line-Up Phil Adams summoned the krewes to bring their accolades to the king and queen. Tumbling from their clown car came the krewes of Confusion, Du Monde, Duck Busters, Fish and Gleaux. Teetering on the high wire came the krewes of Holla-Peneaux, Kaboom, Kritters, Loose and Lost Boys. Perched on jeweled elephants came the krewes of Lyonnesse, Madness, Pecans, Pigs and Potter. Swinging by on glittering trapezes, came the krewes of Romany, Saints Alive, Tail Gate, Tiger Train and Voodoo. And prancing in on plumed horses came the krewes of Loop, the Neal Family Band, Woo Hoo and Yazoo.

At evening’s end, chefs Pat and Sue Yglesias hawked organic peanuts and artisanal hot dogs with Vegemite on the Midway as the music of the calliope yielded to the pulsing rhythms of Patrick Henry and the Liberation Band.